ADHD - Perils of People Pleasing Tendencies

Many persons with ADHD also describe themselves as excessive people pleasers. This is not necessarily all bad, but it can be carried to extremes by some.

I think the fact that many of us have past history of problems with friendships and personal relationships is partly responsible for this tendency to try and please others. Often times we would blurt out things or respond inappropriately to things costing us dearly.

As we get older we learn that perhaps we should hold our tongues and perhaps over compensate by remaining silent or suppressing our thoughts. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of by being abused verbally or volunteering for too many projects. We find it difficult to say no to others. We sometimes are almost obsessed with trying to find out why someone does not like us. Even though there are simply people with whom we have personality conflicts with we seem to go overboard in seeking their friendship or approval. This seems especially prevalent in the workplace and social settings.

The results of this can be even more damaging to our self esteem. We usually are harder on ourselves and lay the blame entirely in our own lap for these past relationship problems. Often times the result is us finding ourselves getting involved in dysfunctional relationships and thinking that we deserve to stay in these relationships and don't deserve any better.

Because we have this past history of saying things inappropriately or which are taken out of the context we intended we are often misunderstood. In actuality most of us are innately kind and do not intend to hurt others feelings or be seen as rude. Yet due to the frequency of finding ourselves in these defensive roles we suffer decreases in self esteem and overcompensate by trying to do too much for others or try and put ourselves in more favorable light with others.

We also tend to hold in our anger and frustration about events that occur. We find it difficult to think quick enough on our feet to respond correctly. We have difficulty verbalizing exactly what we wish to say and often find that we are better at writing out our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the mere fact of writing them out is enough therapy that we do not have to speak the words out loud. Often times in retrospect for everyone the fact that we don't say something is better for all concerned.

I would urge all of you that have difficulty in this area to take time to analyze some of the reasons you might struggle. If we are subject to saying yes to everyone's request take the opportunity to ask for permission to give it some thought before responding to request. Realize that often times saying nothing is better than saying something you might regret but also recognize that you do not have to take abuse from others. If you need to separate or distance yourselves from others than do so. If the person is a true friend or a potential good relationship match for you than it is not entirely up to us to make that happen. If we allow ourselves to be physically abused than we need to extricate ourselves from that situation immediately and seek kinder and gentler friends.

If the abusive person is a family member or sibling we also need to do what we can to keep our distance from them.

Thanks and talk to you next month.

Patrick Hurley

If you know on anyone who might like this newsletter please forward it to them and tell them to go to my web site at and sign up.

Author's Bio: 

17 years as Deputy Sheriff, 5 years adult probation officer, 9 years diagnosed with ADHD, ADHD life skills coach for past two years. Co Author ADHD & the Criminal Justice System